Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Am I Really Done?

On a craftily note, the stole is done.

Finally! I am quite pleased with the finished product. It is 85 inches long not including the fringe. The man that commissioned it wanted me to embroider the recipients initials and the year at the back of the neck. Embroidery is not my strong point, but I think I did a passable job.
The cross is worked in pick up technique where I only put the green pattern threads where I want them to be.
The pattern is an overshot name draft for the phrase "A Father's Love". This is the front of the pattern.
And here is the back.

I have to admit that all of the grief I suffered makes me really want to think twice before taking on another commission. In my general craftily practice, if I make a scarf too short, it is because I made two other ones too long ( I generally weave three scarves on each warp) and I don't worry because some people like short scarves. It baffles me that someone should like a short scarf, but then again, who am I to dictate peoples tastes. But during commissions, the person has asked for something specific. And I am such a person that if I mess up (as I did with the shorter stole) then I feel that it is not right for someone else to pay for my mistakes. I feel the need to eat them, so to speak. So with this commission, I am billing for 16 hours and 40 minutes when my actual time is closer to 26 hours. Not to mention the nights sleep that I lost when I realized that the stole that I cut off was way too short. This makes me really want to think long and hard before taking on another commission in something that is not my usual area. If for example, someone wanted a green hand spun scarf, I could accurately tell them how much it would cost (and not be cheating myself) because this is something that I know how much time and materials are involved in creating a finished product.

Does anyone have any advice or tips (besides "don't make mistakes")?


B said...

Wow, it's lovely!!

I tend not to do things for one off commissions because life happens to me and I'm always later than I'd said or I make a mistake and have to eat the time, like what happened to you. When I was making corsets or doing stained glass I found the easiest way to avoid such a thing was to horribly overprice my time. If the person didn't balk, I'd go for it, and if I finished 'on time', what they thought of as 'early', I'd deeply discount.

Er, I don't recommend that method, by the way. I could get away with it at 22 or 28 as a strictly hobby way of doing things, but I think it would cause issues as a business woman.

Anonymous said...

Jackie , your stole is absolutely stunning and I like the fact that the priest initials are ACK. What a coincidence.

Your dad and I are going to his ordination this Friday at 3:00 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 91 Waterloo Street in St John. If you would like to come with us it would be wonderful. Your dad knows him personally.


mira's papa said...

I don't know Jackie. I think when the client gets the finished product he's going to feel double crossed.


(Couldn't resist the yoke.)

I have a suggestion for you concerning the embroidery. If you need to do such a thing again it would help, I think.

Leah said...

The stole is beautiful. I was raised Catholic and attended parochial schools k-12. One of the things that set me on the fiber arts path was admiring the beautiful handmade banners, vestments and altar linens. When I lived in Haiti and visited Mexico, it was interesting to see the variations they wore.

As for taking commissions, I find myself in the same bind. A friend asked me to make a scarf for her mother in a particular shade of blue, which I haven't got. So far, I've made six scarves she might like, but still haven't done the blue. Two days of dyeing are in my future to get just that right shade. In the meantime, I'll end up with at least ten finished pieces by the time she picks hers. Can you sell the short stole? There are short priests. I hope you write more about your solutions.

Dave Daniels said...

Jackie, one word: INCREDIBLE! I can't believe that's woven. Well, I can, but it's beyond the scope of anything I can imagine. Beautiful work.

mira's papa said...

Yeah, Jackie's work is just amazing. In fact, after the ordination they will be saying that her work "stole the show".

Ba ding!

I can't resist puns, okay, don't get cross with me.

Ba ding!

Kansas A said...

Oh my Jackie! It's beautiful!

I find it tough selling any of my crafts because I always feel I never get anything for my time. If people only knew just how much time it takes to make anything I think they would be shocked. But there are some who will charge for time and I see this when I browse "Etsy" and even I'm shocked at some of the prices...

DaviMack said...

I was advised, in starting my consulting business, that I need to charge twice what I'd like to make. The explanation was that some of the money would go to taxes, but that some of that extra money would go to things that I wouldn't be comfortable in billing - my own goofs. It worked out well, and people never complained at the service received.

Charge more per hour if you're going to 'eat' your learning time.

And find a short priest somewhere, who needs a stole.

f. pea said...

Wow Jackie, that stole is just amazing. And I agree with davimack's comment - you should charge more and cover some of the overhead costs that go into the final product.

Teyani said...

what an amazing completion!
congrats on sticking with it - the recipient will be stunned by its beauty.

Anonymous said...

Lovely stole. Who chose green? Did you consult with the client on the design?

You could always ebay the short stole. Maybe here in the UK where there are female Anglican ministers? I have a UK ebay account.A nice touch would be to offer to embroider the initials of the successful bidder on the stole.

Curious Llama

Janet said...

Wow, Jackie, that's really beautiful! I'm definitely not going to refer my in-laws to your page, or they'll be thoroughly disappointed when they see the one I'm going to make - it's sure not going to be anything as complicated and lovely as yours!

My MIL reeeaaaally wants isolated, floating crosses like your stole has but I told her I just can't do it 'cause it'd be Too Much Work for the amount of time I've got to do mine. She also wants me to embroider "from the Dawsons" and the date on the stole I make. Ack!

Was 85" + fringe long enough? I looked at a few I found online and they were more like 100"+. No fringe, though.